NO one can fully realize the dizzy heights to which American civilization has risen until he reads the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog. For instance, there seems to be a modern demand for a solar-powered ventilated pith helmet. This helmet has a built-in solar-powered fan that blows on one's sweltering head as he walks through the jungle -- or up Fifth Avenue, as the case may be. It is not something one would want to be without if his friend had one.
There is also an electric ice cream scoop, and it is strange the need for this has not emerged until now. By plugging it into a wall socket it digs out hard-frozen ice cream in neat, perfectly formed scoops and thus is an aid to the tired housewife, or whatever happens to be in the kitchen these days, including robots.
Then I must mention the Oshibori Towel Hot Basket, which enables anyone to furnish hot towels to guests at the dinner table. The occasion for needing hot towels at the dinner table can be a challenging innovation for any hostess. But if she is totally devoid of originality it can still be transformed into a receptacle for hot rolls.
Golfers in retirement communities should like the 17-in-one golf club. This makes it possible to carry only one club around a golf course, thus eliminating the need of bag or cart. When one is ready to hit the ball, he just adjusts a dial for whatever kind of shot.
Many people would like the talking bathroom scale with a built-in memory. In a clear, digitally synthesized voice, this item announces your weight and tells you how much you have gained or lost since the last time. When you get off, it says, ``Have a good day.''
And, it might be pointed out, it says, ``Have a good day'' no matter what nasty things you may have said to it previously.
It is indeed a new world, in which we are all being prepared to love our fellow gadgets.